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Pakistanis Use Twitter To Raise Their Concerns On The Proposed Cybercrime Bill 2015

tweetstormThe proposed Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill in Pakistan has raised concern among local and international human rights organisations as it could put at risk freedom expression and privacy in Pakistan.

Mariam at Catalyst Woman blog reports:

After the dedicated efforts of numerous advocacy groups, ngos and private citizens, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication has agreed to a public hearing of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill 2015 this Friday, 22 May in Islamabad.

Invitations to the “public” hearing have only been extended to six people to appear before a committee of 20 members. According to the Joint Action Committee on the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 (PECB) & Alliance For Access:

This is contrary to the spirit of a “public hearing.”

The Joint Action Committee members are definitely among the stakeholders, but we are not the only ones. Instead of hand-picking selected invitees, we call upon the NA Standing Committee on IT to conduct the public hearing in a proper manner, by opening it to all concerned members of the public and invite the entire print and electronic media too, in the spirit of transparency and openness.

The Catalyst woman blog proposed a #Tweetstorm to raise awareness of the public’s concerns about the Cyber Crime Bill in its current state. “There should be a public debate on all aspects of the bill,” the blog says.

What Is Really Wrong With Policing in Maldives?

Blogger Kureege Fuluheh is a Maldivian ex-police officer, who writes about issues in policing and the police service in Maldives. The blogger analyses how the Maldives Police Service (MPS) is perceived by people over the last seven years and discusses what is the way forward:

Worrying is police’ behaviour towards members of public whilst on duty and the alleged association with crime groups to create fear. [..] In reality, policing has failed to deliver to public satisfaction due to lack of effective strategy and intra-organizational arrangements to cut crime and proactively police.

From crime recording, public engagement, enforcement to investigation, it is evident that policing is ineffective in these areas. [..]

Right now the policing landscape in Maldives fails to perform and deliver through arrangements akin to democratic principles. It is of utmost importance that a police reform bill paves way to create a policing architecture that holds police accountable to its public and public say is counted in how they are policed.

A Passenger Ferry Capsizes in Bangladesh. Again.

Recovered bodies are brought to the shore in a dinghy. Image by Reporter#7619314. Copyright Demotix (22/2/2015)

Recovered bodies are brought to the shore in a dinghy. Image by Reporter#7619314. Copyright Demotix (22/2/2015)

On Sunday noon a passenger ferry reportedly packed with more than 100 passengers was hit by a cargo vessel 40 kilometres northwest of Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. It subsequently sank.

A rescue vessel located the capsized vessel and attempted to pull it up. According to reports 37 bodies have been found and many are feared missing.

Collisions with other craft is the top reason for ferry disasters in Bangladesh, which are quite common according to this study. Overcrowding and poor safety measures are the catalyst.

Passenger lists are rarely kept accurately, making it difficult to know how many people are missing when accidents occur. Many people have already been rescued from this particular craft, but it will take days to determine precise numbers. This is the country's second deadly boat accident in less than a fortnight.

Divers at work to pull the bodies out of the capsized passenger ferry.

Divers at work to pull the bodies out of the capsized passenger ferry. Image by Reporter#7619314. Copyright Demotix (22/2/2015)

Updates on the 18th SAARC Summit On Social Media

The ongoing summit of the The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was covered by international media with different perspectives. However non-official initiatives such as 18th SAARC Summit blog, Facebook account, Twitter and Google+ account are aggregating updates on the summit for easy archiving.

Here are some examples:

Too Many Under Trial Detainees in India's Jails

Overflowing water from a septic tank has poured into a Rail Police (G.R.P.) Lockup at Burdwan Rail Station.  People kept in the lockup are finding it very difficult to stay there. Image by Sanjoy Carmaker. Copyright Demotix (18/10/2013)

Overflowing water from a septic tank has poured into a Rail Police (G.R.P.) Lockup at Burdwan Rail Station. People kept in the lockup are finding it very difficult to stay there. Image by Sanjoy Carmaker. Copyright Demotix (18/10/2013)

Indian alternative news portal Beyond Headlines sheds light on the darker side of India's judiciary. In India, of all people detained in lockups and state prisons there are more people under trial than convicts.

Because of the slow process of the judiciary process, thousands of people suspected or accused of a crime end up waiting for trial for years in cramped prison cells which lack electricity, food and other necessities. About 250,000 men and women in India are currently in jail without having been proven guilty. Their fate or innocence is bound by the course of their trials.

And who and where are all these detainees? These tweets explain:

Freeing the detainees awaiting trial is also not a good option, as Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Shishir Bail write in the Hindu: “Without substantive reforms to the investigation and trial process, early release of undertrials may further aggravate the pathologically low rates of conviction and incarceration in the Indian criminal justice system.”

Global Voices Partners With The Balochistan Point

10672355_625780204207965_4155202294766020208_nGlobal Voices has launched a new partnership with Balochistan Point, an English language news site that writes under-reported stories from Pakistan's southwestern province.

The Balochistan Point initiated in 2010 to highlight important news from an area which Pakistan's national online, broadcast and print media largely ignores.

Adnan Amir, the editor at Balochistan Point hopes “unreported news stories from Balochistan will reach a global audience through its partnership with Global Voices.”

Balochistan is Pakistan's largest yet least-populated province. It is its poorest and most under-developed, but is rich in natural resources like coal, natural gas and copper. The Balochistan Point website explains:

The electronic and print media in Pakistan in general, and in Balochistan, in particular has failed to highlight the most important issues of Balochistan. Therefore, there is a stronger need than ever for an alternative platform to report the ignored issues about Balochistan […]

We stand for human rights, democracy, social and economic justice. The newspaper aims to mirror Balochistan. The volunteers of Balochistan Point launched it to keep reporting on human rights abuse, political, social and economic issues of Balochistan. Our center of focus is Balochistan but we are not limited to it. We also report on important issues at a national level that has implications for the Balochistan province and its people.

Like Global Voices, Balochistan Point is driven by volunteers and its “doors are always open to aspiring writers.” Global Voices will republish Balochistan Point content regularly. Sometimes we will edit their stories to add context and tailor them for our global audience.

We kick off this partnership with three articles Risking Their Lives to Save Pakistanis From Polio,  How a Bus Stop Row is Crippling Public Transport in Balochistan's Capital and For Pakistan's Struggling National Airline, Balochistan Comes Last.

Real Goats. Real Stories. Bangladesh Delivers.

Screenshot from The Goats of Bangladesh Facebook page.

Screenshot from “The Goats of Bangladesh” Facebook page.

Read the full interview here at Scroll.in.

Bangladesh has now a satirical Facebook page much like Pigeons of New York, which is itself a parody site of the famous Humans of New York project. Goats of Bangladesh is only about six months old, but it boasts of almost 10,000 followers. Sahil Bhalla of Scroll.in interviewed one of the page's administrators, who preferred to remain anonymous.

[What is] the idea behind the page?

We were bored one day during Eid and decided to take pictures of goats with a DSLR camera. After seeing the outcome of the pictures, one of us decided we would open a parody page called “Goats of Bangladesh” where we would mimic the style of posts made by Humans of New York in a mocking way.

Screenshot from the Goats of Bangladesh Facebook Page

Screenshot from the “Goats of Bangladesh” Facebook Page

Read the full interview here at Scroll.in.

A Nobel Prize for All Malalas in the World

Malala Yousafzai. Imagen del usuario  Jabiz Raisdana de Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Malala Yousafzai. Image by user Jabiz Raisdana on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The blog MujeresMundi is an infoactivism project run by Belgium-based Peruvian Xaviera Medina “committed to gender as a key to development”.

Their most recent post refers to the Nobel Peace Prize that has been awarded to education Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai:

[…] Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that Malala is not an isolated case. Education is not an inherent right for girls in many countries, and every day, hundreds of Malalas are threatened for attending to school.

[…]

The 2014 Nobel must remind us that Malala Yousafzai is not an anecdotic case, but a everyday reality of thousands of youngster and children around the world.

Infographic: 5 Facts About Sri Lanka’s Tamil Community in the North

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a civil society think tank in Sri Lanka, has recently conducted a top line survey on “Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka 2014“. The results show that difference of opinion on the reconciliation still exists between the Tamil and the Sinhalese people after the Sri Lankan civil war.

The findings from the survey with regard to the Tamil community is very significant. Their key issues are poverty and unemployment and they feel deprived having very little say about the affairs of the country. Here is an infographic depicting their plights:

Infographic courtesy of Centre For Policy Alternatives

Infographic courtesy of Centre For Policy Alternatives

Mumbai School Children Have Big Ideas About Technology and Innovation

A screen grab of the video (click the photo to watch)

A screen grab of the video (click the photo to watch)

The author @sutarcv works as a communications co-ordinator with Atma.

Children from a local municipal school in Mumbai voice their opinions on inventions, technology, environment and money in a recent video from Atma, an education non-profit organization whose mission is to support initiatives that help underprivileged children in India. 

This video gives insight into what's going on in the minds of children studying at local municipal schools, many of who face challenging circumstances like living in a bad neighborhood or having to deal with an alcoholic parent, for instance.

One girl wants to invent technology that can help a man to fly at his will. Another wants to invent a wallet in which the money never ends. As far as technology goes, it seems these children at this municipal school are enthusiastic about it. They know about messaging service WhatsApp, email and Google, but it also appears from the conversations of children that their access to Internet is limited.  

Inish Merchant commented on the Atma Facebook post with the video saying:

I wish govt. schools start giving IT lessons as a part of their syllabus.

The most fascinating responses is on an hypothetical question — what would they do if they had lots of money? Some said they will save it for their parents, while others said they will donate it or help people with a disability. There are also a few who said they will build something for themselves first and then make something for others.  

Prateek U Keshari,  a communications specialist with Make A Difference, a non-profit organization that works with street children and orphans, wrote:

This is beautiful! Only if more adults looked for the possibility of ideas through the eyes of a kid! 

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